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  • concerns over the safety of herbicides to which the soybean is resistant
  • authorising it would encourage the use of such herbicides in the world, say MEPs
  • call for a reform of the GM autorisation procedure

Environment MEPs called on the European Commission not to authorise imports of products made from herbicide resistant soybean DAS-68416-4, on Tuesday.

They highlight concerns raised by independent research and member states, and repeat Parliament’s call for an overhaul of the EU’s GMO imports authorisation procedure.

 

MEPs stress that during the three months consultation period of Member States, many critical comments were voiced regarding the application and the risk assessment data, which “do not provide sufficient information to exclude adverse effects”, and that the data provided by the applicant may not be sufficient to complete the risk assessment fully.

 

They say that independent research raised concerns about the risks of the active ingredient of 2,4-Dichlorophenol herbicide, to which the GM soybean is resistant, as regards embryo development, birth defects and endocrine disruption. The other herbicide to which the GM soybean is resistant, Glufosinate ammonium, is classified in the EU as toxic for reproduction.

 

2,4D is also expected to accumulate in soy oil during the processing of soybeans, which is incorporated into, among many other products, some infant formulas, say MEPs.

 

Authorising the import of DAS-68416-4 into the Union would lead to an increase of its cultivation in third countries, and to an increase of the use of 2,4D and glufosinate herbicides, they say.

 

The European Food Safety Authority however adopted a favourable opinion on 26 January 2017.  The vote of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 12 June 2017 delivered no opinion, with 15 Member States voting against, 11 in favour (representing only 36,57% of the EU population) and 2 abstentions.

 

MEPs also point out that the EU Commission is still authorising GMOs in the EU without the support of opinions of member state committees. This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm.

 

Next steps

 

The non-binding resolution was adopted with 40 votes to 24 and 1 abstention. It will be put to a vote by the full House during the 11-14 September plenary session in Strasbourg.

 

Background

 

Another EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Parliament in October 2015. MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They called on the Commission to table a new proposal.